OPINION — I recently emigrated from New Zealand to join my family here in Southern Utah. I survived my first brutal summer. I won’t talk about the painful process that the U.S. immigration system has subjected us to in the 4 1/2 years it’s been, with our documents for our children still being tossed around, causing significant other issues.

But let’s just say, it has opened my eyes as to why people do it “illegally.” Not endorsing it. I’m saying, I understand it.

My purpose, however, in writing is to express some dismay about the lack of communication in many instances of employers when making job applications. Since arriving in February, I have made a substantial number of applications to a number of employers here in the St. George (and a little wider) area. Probably approaching nearly 100. In probably more than 60-70% of those cases, there has been no communication in return, even to the point of acknowledging the application.

Now I know, some will say, you need to follow up. Well, in instances where it was clear that there was a place or a person to follow up with, attempts were made. Messages were left, emails sent, and even in a couple of cases, visits were made. There is, however, a point where the chasing just has to end. The sad reality is that when one is looking for work, one does not always have the resources to drive all over town to chase down dead-end leads.

I’ve been an employer. I’ve been in a position where people’s lives and livelihoods have been in my hands. I’ve had to make decisions as to who I interview and who I don’t, who I employ, and who I don’t. I’ve had to discipline and terminate employees. None of this is easy. But in my years of experience, I have never distanced myself from the people aspect of human resource management.

Keyword: human.

Employers have huge power. But one thing that makes great organizations great is how they look after their humans — their people. They know who looks after them and who does not. Heck, simple things like breaks are a measure of how much an employer cares.

Setting aside what I consider ridiculously low pay rates here (I mean a teacher’s base pay in New Zealand is NZD$51,000), I once had an interview for a role that required a degree and multiple years’ experience, and the going rate was $15 an hour. From what I have learned, untrained and unqualified workers at McDonald’s start at $17 an hour. Don’t get me started on the medical system; that’s just insane.

I get it, I’m new here. This is the way it’s been and our systems are different. I get it. I’m sure I will adapt, but I am also one who looks forward to the challenges of improving systems I come into. I do believe that one person can make a difference and I look forward to doing that in my new role. It does not mean I have to be content with the status quo, and while I don’t like to reinvent wheels, I like to make the wheel better. So, on we roll.

Submitted by WIREMU BAYLISS, Southern Utah.

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